Whether or not you believe in traditional Chinese wisdom, and no matter who your potential buyers are, Feng Shui can help you sell your house. Feng Shui [fung-schway] literally means “wind and water.” It is an ancient Chinese system of aesthetics that uses the laws of both heaven (astronomy) and Earth (geography) to help one improve life by receiving positive chi (energy flow).
It is, in fact, an environmental science based on an interpretation of the natural world. Whether or not you believe Feng Shui brings you success as do many Chinese, it is a practice that helps everyone create environments in which we feel comfortable and supported. And when potential buyers enter a home that is clutter-free and comfortable, they are much more likely to buy even if they have never heard of Feng Shui.
Though Feng Shui will help in selling a house to anyone, house sellers in the Vancouver market should not discount the increasing volume of moneyed Chinese buyers in the area. Vancouver has seen several waves of Chinese immigration. 27.7% of the population of Vancouver is ethnically Chinese.
Many who have arrived since 2000 in particular have money to buy expensive residences, having benefited from one of the world’s biggest economic booms, a boom that produced 3.6 million millionaires by 2014 and 2.4 million in 2013.
Approximately 8,500 immigrant investors came from mainland China to B.C. between 2000 and 2015, and they arrived with 23,000 family members. But that’s not all. In those same years, 23,000 skilled workers arrived in B.C. as well as and 33,000 family members.) As reported in the Huffington Post, “National Bank financial analyst Peter Routledge has calculated that Chinese homebuyers may have bought as much as 33% of the total housing volume in Vancouver.” The point is that though using the principles of Feng Shui will help you to stage your house to increase the likelihood of sales to anyone, many Chinese buyers will not even consider a house with bad Feng Shui.
Feng Shui is complex, and to correctly align your house to its principles, you may want to consult an expert. However, let’s talk about some essential concepts.
Feng Shui Basics for Selling Your House
Chi is the life force of all animate things and the power of the heavens. Chi must flow smoothly through your house to achieve physical and mental health and to encourage prosperity, good relationships and success. Where chi flows gently through a house, the occupants will be positive and have an easy journey through life. Chi cannot flow smoothly through a house that is cluttered or where furniture is not arranged for easy passage.
Balance (Yin and Yang)
Yin is feminine, and yang is masculine. Both must be balanced for a home to be comfortable. For example, short, dark, ornate, curved and light are yin. Tall, bright, plain, straight and heavy are yang. As an example, if you have very dark floors, you may want to balance that with light-colored walls.
Elements, Colors and Directions
Feng Shui has five elements, and it is important how they relate to each other. They are associated both with colors and with compass directions. These elements should be balanced in your home to help it sell. Scientifically, colors are vibrations. Color is used in Feng Shui to create a balance of the elements and correct negative influences. Yin is black and absorbs colors, while yang is white and reflects them. Make your own color choices, but use Feng Shui to harmonize them. Using all elements promotes a feeling of comfort for everyone.
The elements and their associated colors are
- Wood supports new beginnings. Wood colors include green and brown.
- Water is both vibrant and relaxing. Water colors include dark blue and black.
- Metal is refined. It’s associated with the color white.
- Fire is exciting. Its colors are red and warm colors.
- Earth is natural and nurturing. Its colors include terracotta, yellow, brown and beige.
In some rooms, like a family room where we want people of all types to be comfortable, we want all five elements to be present. Here is an example:
- Water: Dark blue carpet
- Wood: Plants
- Fire: Red pillows
- Earth: Terra cotta pots
- Metal: White wall or metal sculpture
Consider all four sides when planning Feng Shui
The directions of how your home is laid out is also important and each direction is associated with an element.
The North is associated with career. Its element is water. To boost career, you may want to place a dark blue rug in the north corner and install an aquarium.
The East is associated with the sun, family and health. Its element is wood. You might want to put a bonsai tree or a wooden plaque on this side of the house.
The South is associated with fame and reputation, and its element is fire. You can also consider this the front of your home no matter its actual direction. You may want to put a red flowering plant or red upholstery accents in this part of the house.
The West is associated with creativity and children. Its element is metal. You may want to paint the walls white or place metal objects in the room.
The Northeast is associated with education and decision making. Its element is earth.
The Northwest is associated with travel and helpful people. Its element is metal.
The Southeast is associated with wealth, and its elements are wood and water.
The Southwest is associated with relationships and motherly, nurturing energy. Its element is also earth. If you want to enhance relationships, place something made of earth such as crystals in the southwest.
Important Feng Shui Tips for Selling Your House Quickly
Get rid of the clutter both inside and out so the chi can flow freely. Clutter represents stagnant energy. Also, if you have too many personal items in your home, it may be hard for buyers to envision their own family living there.
Soften Sharp Edges
Sharp edges create “poison arrows” that point at people and can create loss of jobs, money and health. Kitchens, for example are often full of poison arrows such as the edges of appliances, shelves and counters. Open cupboard doors sometimes seem to be just waiting for us to bang our heads or shins. Knives cause poison arrows and should be kept in a drawer. You can soften sharp edges with barriers such as screens, plants and curtains.
Minimize Oppressive Beams
If you have low-hanging beams in your home, you may want to minimize their visibility by painting them the same color as the ceiling. There is an innate negative reaction to having a low beam over your head even if you can pass underneath it without hitting your head.
Maintain Your Front Door
The front door is very important, because it is the entrance to the house and sets people’s expectations for what they will find inside. Both outside and inside your front door should be completely clutter-free. The size of the door should be in proportion to the house. Doors which squeak, stick or have broken latches should be repaired.
You should paint your front door before showing your house, and you may even want to give serious consideration to replacing it. It’s that important. The color of the door should be in harmony with its direction. For example, if your door is facing east, which is associated with the wood element, you might consider a green or brown front door.
Inside Entry Should Welcome Guests into the Home
The door should open onto an uncluttered inside space which is proportionate to the size of the house. You do not want to place a mirror on the wall opposite the front door, because it pushes the good fortune out of your home. On a practical level, seeing movement in the mirror as we enter can be unnerving.
If you have a stairway that faces the front door, that creates an unsettling energy battle. You can diffuse this problem by hanging a round crystal ball in front of the staircase from the ceiling or a red ribbon midpoint between the front door and the base of the stairs. You could also install a small mirror to the back of the front door to send the chi back up the stairs. Another fix is hanging small wind chimes from a red ribbon midpoint between the stairs and the door.
Windows Should Be Neither Too Many nor Too Few
Too few windows restrict the flow of chi and are yin. Too many windows can create excessive yang and seem overpowering to our senses. Too many windows in the dining room are especially inauspicious since the aim is to gather chi around the dining table and create a cozy environment. This can be counterbalanced by simply drawing a few drapes.
Lighting Sets the Mood
Pay attention to where and in what position you place lighting. If you have flickering bulbs, fix them. If you have shadows where it’s important to see clearly, such as where you read or prepare food, adjust your lighting. Also look at lighting in work spaces so it is not creating glare on computer screens.